Introduction Troubleshooting Gameplay Single-Player Multiplayer Dedicated Servers Linux Server Setup Development Other Sources Of Information Epilogue
[1.1] What is Descent 3 (henceforth called D3)?
D3 is the third title in the Descent series, the line of award-winning computer games created by Outrage Entertainment (former Parallax Software). Like it's predecessors, D3 is an intense action-oriented game set in a 3D environment which received rave reviews around the planet.
[1.2] Why didn't Parallax Software develop D3?
Although it may not appear to be so, Parallax Software DID produce D3 - or rather, one half of it. Parallax Software, when originally formed in 1993, had people in two locations (Ann Arbor, Michigan and Champaign, Illinois).

For Descent, work was done in Champaign while the company searched for a mutual central location. After failing to find one, it was decided to reorganize Parallax into two companies, Outrage (Ann Arbor) and Volition Inc. (Champaign). Both companies still maintain strong links to each other.

[1.3] Wasn't Descent: Freespace supposed to be D3?
No! Volition Inc. planned to release their new space-flightsim-combat-game under the name Freespace but a disk compression utility had the name already registered in North America.

So Volition changed the name to Descent: Freespace which has been altered to Conflict: Freespace in Europe.

[1.4] Do I need a 3d accelerator?
As minimum requirements state, you will need a Direct3D compatible 3D accelerator with at least 4 MB of onboard memory. Considering the rapid development in that sector all current graphics boards should be fine.

In case you're running on older hardware a 3D accelerator that meets the minimum system requirements (i.e. a Riva128 video card) like Voodoo are sufficient. Other 3D accelerators such as the RivaTNT / Geforce and such also work fine with D3 as they are Direct3D compatible.

D3 supports Direct3D, OpenGL, and Glide APIs.

[1.5] Is a D3 demo available?
Yes, for the PC there are even two of them which are approx. 35 MB each (MAC: one demo of approx. 48 MB; LINUX: 1 demo of approx. 44 MB).

PC Demo 1 features level 3, Piccu Station of the full version plus 2 multiplayer levels, The Core (2-8 players) and Polaris (16+ players). PC Demo 2 features level 1, Deimos of the retail version and only one but very cool multiplayer level called Taurus (4-16 players).

I haven't yet had a chance to check what levels the Mac and Linux demos do feature. It's your decision which to try out. You can get them at these locations:




[1.6] What is D3 Sol Ascent?
D3 Sol Ascent is an OEM version (i.e. commercial version, no demo) of the D3 retail. It features levels 1-5 of the retail version whereas level 1: Deimos is also available for download as D3 Demo 2 and level 3: Piccu Station as D3 Demo 1. Sol Ascent also covers the multiplayer levels of both D3 demos: The Core, Polaris & Taurus. However, this OEM-version version is only available bundled with Voodoo 3 (3000 not 2000!) boards and does *not* run on other boards!

There've been some unconfirmed rumours that this version has been bundled with other hardware recently which would indicate that you could run it on other graphics boards as well. However, I personally doubt it and if you're interested in playtesting the game I'd still recommend the demos since Sol Ascent is very buggy and Outrage will not release any patches for it.

[1.7] What is D3 Mercenary?
Mercenary is an offical addon to D3 from the Outrage developers themselves. It features 7 gigantic single-player levels and a bunch of really weird multiplayer levels. As well you pilot a new ship: the Black Pyro which fires 2 missiles at once but can't fire secondaries when there's only 1 missile (of Concs, Homing or Cyclone) left. As well it features a different storyline, this time you're a Mercenary that's working for Dravis.

Some people complained about this one as a cheap ripoff with not enough new features but I must say that levels 3 and 4 are the coolest Descent levels I've ever played.

[1.8] Will there be a Mac/Linux/etc. port?
Yes, the final Mac and Linux ports have been released. For more info on the Linux client check out

For more info on the Mac client check out

There's also a dedicated Linux server which can handle Win clients:

See section [1.5] for URLs to download the demos from.

[1.9] Is there a demo recording system in D3?
Yes! D3 has a new demo recording system, so you can continue to watch the exploits of your friends blasting robots (or yourself blasting your friends or yourself getting blasted by your friends) into oblivion. However, the demo recording system is far from perfect, IOW it's buggy! It's recommended to record and playback the demo on the same framerate. Otherwise you'd get really weird results, e.g. a demo recorded on 30 fps (frames per second) and played back on 90 fps would look as if someone would hold down the fast forward key.

A good compromise would be to record the demo on 50 fps which should be achievable on any system that is capable of making D3 run at an acceptable speed; as well the demo does not get too large (nevertheless always zip it before sending it to someone!). This is the default fps setting so you do not have to change anything unless you didn't fiddle with the framecap parameter (which in that case would have to be adjusted as explained in section [3.8]).

Patch 1.5 is supposed to fix a lot of demo bugs.

[1.10] Will there be a Descent 4?
All that can be said for now is that there's no final decision yet. Check out Outrage for news on this topic.

A few devoted members of the Descent community are currently working on 'their' version of Descent IV using D3 technology; maybe you wanna help them out with your creativity.

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